Congress

House appropriators put a premium on fixing decaying subs

The decision to pay for maintenance over shipbuilding, is based on long repair delays for some of the Navy’s pricey subs

The USS Newport News (R) secures itself next to its sister Los Angeles-class submarine USS Boise (L) after returning to Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. House appropriations said it plans to move $650 million of the Navy 2020 shipbuilding funds toward the maintenance of three submarines: USS Boise, USS Hartford and USS Columbus. (Mike Heffner/Getty Images)

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday said it plans to move $650 million from the Navy’s requested fiscal 2020 shipbuilding account to the service’s operations and maintenance account to address maintenance delays for the Pentagon’s submarine fleet.

The decision to fund more maintenance against shipbuilding, according to a committee report released Monday, is based on long repair delays for some of the Navy’s pricey attack submarines.

[Navy routinely buys defective ships]

The committee’s report on the bill says that the $650 million would go toward the maintenance of three submarines: USS Boise, USS Hartford and USS Columbus.

Of the three, the committee directs the Navy to give special care to the USS Boise, which the report says lost its dive certification in 2017. According to a Government Accountability Office report, the Boise was scheduled to receive the maintenance it still needs today in 2013.

[Air Force secretary: send disaster money ASAP]

“The committee,” the report reads, “is concerned by the maintenance delays that persistently occur under this account and finds these delays completely unacceptable.”

The transfer would add the $650 million to the Pentagon’s requested $10.4 billion ship depot maintenance account. The committee’s bill would allocate nearly $22 billion for shipbuilding, $2 billion less than the Pentagon’s request.

That $22 billion would fund two new attack submarines, one fewer than the Pentagon requested.

“The committee appreciates and supports the need for new attack submarines,” the report says, “but believes that the Navy must also address repairs of its current fleet, with these three submarines receiving priority attention.”

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